Will software engineering be a climate change hero or villain?

Back to Hub

It will be a collaborative, cross-industry challenge but Software Engineering can be a hero.

It was devastating to see wildfires rip through Australia, while Paris recorded its warmest day yet and still, the Arctic continues to be threatened by melting glaciers. There is no secret to the fact that we’re facing the greatest global challenge of our lifetime – climate change.

But could Software Engineers be the unlikely heroes in the battle to protect the environment? By eradicating many of the technical inefficiencies that currently exist, this is a discipline with the ability to drive through new innovations which have the potential to positively impact the fight against climate change.

IoT as a tool for change

The Internet of Things continues to drastically impact our everyday lives, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Coupled with technologies such as 5G, IoT has the power to cut global emissions by 15 per cent.

Software Engineers running an IoT project will work with a range of data samples, streamlining processes to reduce the carbon footprint of the business. But, building the IoT components itself could have an adverse impact on the environment.

They can specifically improve the efficiency of the IoT by creating software that could make devices more efficient and longer lasting. When you think about how people consume tech, this is particularly important. You don't want people buying new smart fridges as often as they buy new phones!

Coding it simple, for you and the planet

Once you have an idea for a way to make a process more efficient, Software Engineers can manipulate and re-work existing programmes. This can make software that is better for business – and the environment too.

Software Engineering can make sure we have accurate and easily understood data, which makes things more efficient. At the same time, re-thinking existing solutions makes for a greener and smarter approach, leading to a reduction in the use of emissions, cutting carbon footprints and saving the planet. ‘Green’ Software Engineers will be in increasing demand as we move into a new world too.

Advancements in tech also have the potential to significantly reduce the use of greenhouse gasses, but if taken too far, automation can lead to increased consumption and emissions. Software Engineers should weigh the benefits of increased efficiency against increased production. They can then come up with ways to further reduce the impact and uncover where the impact is felt most.

Innovation in the face of adversity

We all have a role to play in combatting climate change. Digital technology emits about two per cent of global CO2 emissions, and does more harm than the global airline industry. Software Engineering is not exempt from this – it has a responsibility to act. There are different ways that you can take action, and it’s all about getting smart.

The coronavirus pandemic has put the spotlight on other issues, like the need to act on climate change - to “build back better”. Disruptive, innovative approaches mean that you can provide solutions to global concerns.

Software Engineers have the opportunity to create software that has the potential to influence consumer behaviour, for example. Globally, we are now accustomed to near-instant gratification when it comes to receiving online orders. It is the impact of this that will cause a shift in re-engineering and software design. As such, Software Engineers can reduce the environmental impact of customers by optimising the applications, programmes and technologies they use, that are built for their convenience. 

Software Engineers’ ability to support the fight against climate change is an exciting challenge. In isolation, technology will not remedy this problem. But Software Engineers can step into industries to offer innovative, smart solutions to provide green alternatives, but this alone is not enough.

Software Engineers are the driving force for innovation. develop is scaling software engineering teams that shape our world. For more information, get in touch on 0207 733 0430.

  • 20 Oct 2023
    Miami's CTO Roundtable
    Read Blog
  • 18 Oct 2023
    The evolution of data engineering
    Read Blog
  • 09 Oct 2023
    Start recruiting to get ahead
    Read Blog